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Insurance Companies see NHI as threat to survival – Health Minister

- says NHI programme is for the greater good of the people of the VI
Minister for Health and Social Development Hon. Ronnie W. Skelton said insurance companies see the government's National Health Insurance as a threat to their survival. Photo:VINO
Businessman Elton Callwood said whenever governments step in a capitalist society, and take over competition and make it a government run [operation], they are treading on the borderline of socialism. Photo:VINO
Businessman Elton Callwood said whenever governments step in a capitalist society, and take over competition and make it a government run [operation], they are treading on the borderline of socialism. Photo:VINO
Commentator Edmund Maduro expressed that when it comes to the National Health Insurance, small businesses will not be able to afford it. Photo:VINO
Commentator Edmund Maduro expressed that when it comes to the National Health Insurance, small businesses will not be able to afford it. Photo:VINO
A section of the audience at the community meeting in Carrot Bay. Photo:VINO
A section of the audience at the community meeting in Carrot Bay. Photo:VINO
CARROT BAY, Tortola, VI – Minister for Health and Social Development Hon. Ronnie W. Skeleton stated that insurance companies see the National Health Insurance (NHI) Programme as a threat to their survival.

The statement came as the National Democratic Party (NDP) government took its message to the people of the Virgin Islands with their ‘On the Road’ campaign at the Abraham Leonard Community Centre in Carrot Bay last evening, February 25, 2013. The theme for the scheduled series of the interactive meetings is “On The Road – Building a ‘People Government’ through Listening, Collaborating, Consulting and Communicating”.

The Hon. Minister was at the time responding to a question from Mr Elton Callwood regarding whether he was aware of any opposition for the NHI Programme scheduled to be implemented in August 2013. “I don’t see it that way,” said Hon. Skelton, “I see where there will always be a higher level of re-insurance that is required, that they will play a part in…”

“We cannot continue to leave the health of the very people, the unfortunate ones in our society, to the mercies of the health insurance, as a people and a government, we have to do something, and we feel this is for the greater good so that’s why we’re making this decision and travelling this road,” Hon. Skelton added.

Skelton assured that it took approximately five years for a comprehensive study to be completed through the University of the West Indies’ Economic Unit. He made the disclosure after Callwood had asked whether Government had taken into account “the expense that we’re going to incur” and asked about whether the magnitude of claims had been assessed before the implementation of the programme, even after Government had stated that they did not have all the financial resources to solve the Territory’s problems.

“It’s not something that government [is] just jumping up and doing,” Hon. Skelton assured, “…it’s not something as simple as you are explaining, there are economic models, there are statistical models, telling us which direction that we need to go.”

Callwood also stated, “whenever governments step in a capitalist society, and take over competition and make it a government run [operation], they are treading on the borderline of socialism…”

After noting Callwood’s claim about the programme being of socialist nature, Hon. Skelton advised that there was no pure socialist country and also no pure capitalist country, “there is a level of socialism in every capitalist country and one of the things a government or people must decide… there [comes] a point where the greater good of all the people need to be considered, not just the capitalists…”

The Health Minister further stated that all those who cannot afford to pay for health insurance should be given the opportunity to access health care while adding that the ‘strain’ on small businesses was also taken into consideration in the model for the NHI Programme.

According to the Hon. Minister, people are even being taken to court for not paying contributions that employees ask them to hand over to social security.

Commentator Edmund Maduro added his concerns to the voices raised at the meeting in saying, “When it comes to the National Health Insurance, small businesses will not be able to afford it…” As a matter of fact, he offered, it can send a lot of us bankrupt. Stating that he is also a small business man himself, he asked, “When you put more on us, what are we going to do?”

A crowd of approximately 40 persons were in attedance at the community meeting. 

30 Responses to “Insurance Companies see NHI as threat to survival – Health Minister”

  • mother hen (26/02/2013, 07:59) Like (12) Dislike (0) Reply
    Muss be something in it for NDP to be pushing tis socialist ting on we dey people…dem guys anit doin nothin for dey pll unless tis got something in it for dem my fren
    • links (26/02/2013, 09:45) Like (2) Dislike (7) Reply

      The studies were done over the last 5yrs. Do the math and stop being an @$$. All the projects being done by NDP now have been brought to where they are currently by the VIP. Airport, Cruise Pier, National Health Insurance, Hospital, Water (biwater) and Sewage projects. You are not fooling anyone.

  • Virgin Son (26/02/2013, 08:04) Like (7) Dislike (0) Reply
    On your mark, get set, DSICREDIT!..this bunch comes back with a page out of the glover parks book when they were in last time.

    The only thing missing now is the state of the Territory address…watch out people here they come!
    • Fat Head (26/02/2013, 09:26) Like (6) Dislike (0) Reply
      for the life of me i cannot understand why the good people of the BVI and carrot bay listen to this government.... lier lier pants on fire...
  • Native Boy (26/02/2013, 08:09) Like (10) Dislike (0) Reply

    people why do you'll even listen to Ronnie ??? he is clearly a f**l that thinks he is smarter than everybody

  • Release (26/02/2013, 08:13) Like (4) Dislike (1) Reply
    Everybody has the answers, but nobody has the ANSWER
  • . (26/02/2013, 08:22) Like (7) Dislike (0) Reply
    Only the purple palace and quomar going to benefit...poor b&f cant get his clinic built
  • Political Genocide! (26/02/2013, 08:33) Like (12) Dislike (0) Reply
    This is utter rubbish. So you telling me that we who bust our behinds working, trying to maintain a balanced lifestyle and not live beyond our means, must suffer for the underprivileged. Why you the government don't assist them then. NO because it's OUR MONEY you are trying to take to do so!

    We should have the opportunity to keep the insurance we already have that affords us excellent insurance overseas not force us into a scheme to try to kill us off with less than substandard healthcare in our territory.

    I guarantee you I will not be voting again until our political system get their act together and see what time it is.
  • links (26/02/2013, 09:47) Like (1) Dislike (108) Reply
    political genocide

    This is not an NDP plan. This has been in progress since 2008. Pull the file. You will still be able to keep your private insurance so stop with the fear tactics. Universal Healthcare is all over the world and private insurers are doing business there still so you all need to stop talking what you don't know. Many of us pay Social Security monthly but never had to use it. Whereas there are people that haven't paid as much as us but have to use it in pregnancy, injury at work, extended sick leave etc. So what's your point, you shouldn't pay Social Security either? The money you pay to insurance companies each year without getting in an accident, it's paid to those who get into accidents and claim. That's how the s ystem works.
    • Bling (26/02/2013, 10:16) Like (10) Dislike (0) Reply
      My point is: My employer already provides a high quality medical insurance, at no cost to the me/staff. My benefit of free quality insurance will now be taken away as my employer and I now have to contribute to an insurance that will not benefit me when I go off-island for medical treatment!

      Therefore, I will now have to pay for my private insurance to ensure that I can still have coverage for medical visits off-island and also for this foolish government insurance! DOUBLE PAYING FOR INSURANCE THAT I ONCE RECEIVED FOR FREE!!!!!!!
      • links (26/02/2013, 10:57) Like (1) Dislike (13) Reply
        How do you know that? Did your employer tell you so? You are all assuming things. Attend the meetings and ask questions instead of blogging fart. Do you think Insurance companies will just sit back here quietly and let them put them out of business? Do you think they are not thinking on products that they can put forward to complement NHIS? Come on man. Everybody has a right to be concerned but jumping to silly conclusions will help nobody. Until we get all the facts everything is just assumption and hopefully govt. will be providing more detailed information in due course. The crucial information will be the percentage required for employers to pay. If it's not that burdensome, the bigger firms will probably still keep the private cover. WE have to wait and see. Stop sending up your pressure.
        • Hmmm (26/02/2013, 12:39) Like (8) Dislike (0) Reply
          @links i understand your points however, this will be a new deduction from hard earned salaries....Whether its 1 - 10% being deducted that's the percentage we depend on to pay our bills, insure our kids have food to eat, a roof over their heads, light at night to do their home work....Our salaries can barely assist us with our needs.....There are many persons living from pay check to pay check with no increase in their salaries...We are completely satisfied with the Social Security/Income Tax and those who are already paying or soon will be paying Pension........Parents who can now afford to send their kids to private school with that extra 1-10% from their salaries will now have to send their kids to the already over crowded public schools......this will now affect many persons lives. Also, attending these meetings is like a waist of time.....Carrot Bay voiced their opinion and from the response they've received its like whatever you say doesn't faze us because its gonna happen whether or not....
        • links U Clueless (26/02/2013, 15:30) Like (0) Dislike (2) Reply
          Well you an a$$ and a half.

      • Music (26/02/2013, 14:13) Like (0) Dislike (2) Reply
        Until you retire or reach a certain age, when you will find in the small print that you can no longer get coverage whatever you or your employer want to pay. Then you will fall back on the NHI unless you are rich enough to pay your own bills.
    • Political Genocide (26/02/2013, 10:59) Like (5) Dislike (0) Reply
      I don't care who initiated the scheme. NDP in government now and need to LISTEN TO THE PEOPLE!!

      You must be floating in money you fool. The point is we cannot afford to be paying for TWO INSURANCE POLICIES!!
  • tell the truth (26/02/2013, 10:21) Like (6) Dislike (0) Reply
    look at the last photo the people look boarded and fed up of hearing the usual hogwash!!
    • Migoman (26/02/2013, 19:06) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      '''BOARDED'''? I haven't seen anyone boarding, perhaps a plane. Grammar Sir..
  • Big Poppa (26/02/2013, 11:12) Like (11) Dislike (0) Reply

    Ronnie do you know that just to build a new runway at Heathrow airport, consultations and STUDIES take an average of 10 - 20 years!! And that is just a freaking airport! Now you and your guys want to mandate National INsurance (just like the good ole US of A [sic]) to us!?!?! Are you freaking good in your head dread? Well lets see what the projected GOV. costs are to implement and maintain this pie in the sky and ALLOW is freedom of choice! I feel that everyday here in this place mine and others Human Rights are being trampled on by some big headed egotisitical power-hungy maniacs. All this to fund their PORK PROJECTS and prop up their little empires each one of them (politicians) are building to secure THEIR future financial stability. No more jack! I will be talking to a lawyer about the legality of this and will be sending around a petition to have individuals sign on to send to the FCO that we as a ppl shall not be forced to accept something that in reality will be a step backwards.

    • MeArm (26/02/2013, 11:47) Like (4) Dislike (0) Reply
      I agree with you Big Poppa. This is just a build-a-funds tactic by the government to build up millions of dollars in revenue so that they can have funds available to squander. That's the long and short of this whole national insurance!
    • Realist (26/02/2013, 20:35) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      Amen Big Poppa!!!
  • Music (26/02/2013, 14:14) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
    But it wont! It will break the country' finances!
    • be ready (26/02/2013, 19:48) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      We need the exposure of this bad NHI plan!!!
    • John clown (26/02/2013, 21:12) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
      Especially if it has to fund that financially wasteful HSA! Good god somebody need to deal with those jokers at the HSA who call themselves managers and their gross incompetence!

      School Children say they renting the whole top floor of the Hospital to the purple palace, no tender, no add, no nothing! Done deal!
  • geoge w touch (26/02/2013, 14:49) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
    Edmund done get he hush money so he better cart he backside
  • kevin (26/02/2013, 15:19) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    ronnie needs to take this back to the drawing board
  • Sam (26/02/2013, 16:20) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
    so what will happen to the other insurance company they wouldnt be able to employ no one cause they will go out of business . Nobody would want to be paying for two insurance and guess what myron trying to help the ppls with no job to get a job and them come up with this crap, what would happen to the ppl who is WORKING for nagico and the rest...!!! do the maths
  • x factor (27/02/2013, 07:46) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    We should take to the streets! We need to send these NDP clowns a message that we the people cannot absorb any more shock taxes from the NHI plan.
  • voter (27/02/2013, 17:54) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    A tax to fund government waste and private profits.
  • Law Abiding citizen (27/02/2013, 21:00) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    From what I've heard today, I got the impression that this insurance will only cover us locally. Hospital, local doctors etc.. My question is. What if your condition is such that you need medical assistance overseas, how will that apply. Second, we hope that this will encourage a higher level of medicine, and if not, what kind of accountability will the medical practitioners bare for malpractice? I only hope that we've covered these areas before this is implemented. Just my opinion.

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